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What makes a fair worthwhile?

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  • What makes a fair worthwhile?

    As I am making my living selling my work I have to ensure that any fairs or shows I do are worthwhile. Reading through various posts I can't help wondering what people see as 'worthwhile?' For us, if we don't cover costs and make at least a 50% profit on top it is debatable whether we would bother doing that show again. Costs include cost of the fair, consumables, materials, electricity etc, transport and a reasonable hourly rate. A mything less than this would make a given show or fair unviable economically. Just wondering in light of some of the comments over the years on here what others would conside 'worthwhile'

    "Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art" ... Leonardo Da Vinci


  • #2
    Like you Pete, we are making a living with our craft.

    For us, we add all costs of an event, to cover pitch price, hotel, travel and subsistence and multiply by 3.5 - anything less and we are making a loss.

    Having said that, there is one event that we do which is extremely lucraftive, however the get in and get out is so exhausting we propably will not do it again.

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    • #3
      I do not do as large events as you Pete or Jane but still want top make a profit. My overheads are low as all local, the car does 75 to the gallon so the Grayswood one petrol and running cost wise probably only cost £2 (that includes Lee taken me and coming back to collect). I don't add in my food as would have eaten that at home, only packed it to go. No hotels expenses, so adding that to the rent, similar to Jane 3.5 times then I have made a profit.

      I also factor some of the day in as advertising as nothing better than customers to see your goods in the flesh, so to speak. A day at an event talking to customers to me is more valuable than putting an ad in a magazine etc. Also think as a small business this builds confidence in myself and my products. Unlike the big ones such as John Lewis, M & S etc whose reputation proceeds then and been built up over years.

      I way up each fair and factor all the bits and pieces in and then decide. I did Guildford Cathedral but will not do again, distance, on my own, loading and unloading, higher rent but did not take much more than Grayswood.

      PS. I am not in yours or Jane's league and whilst I price everything properly it is not my only income, with a private pension have the luxury not to kill myself at larger events. I love the Brocantes and after all the disarrrtrous 'craft fairs' have found my niche.


      • #4
        For me, it's making a reasonable profit at a similar rate to what I would have earned online,

        I only do the occasional fair, and they are usually in the run up to Christmas. I do find them exhausting but they can be very enjoyable too and a great way to get some feedback on my products.

        Generally, if my takings are 3-4 times my stall fee plus travel costs then I'd consider it worthwhile going back the following year. On average the material and ingredient costs of my cake decorations are 15% of the retail price. It's about 25% for iced gingerbread cookies and a whopping 60% for Christmas cakes, which are there mainly for display purposes. If I sell one or two then all well and good but the unsold ones are given as Christmas gifts to my family. I only did 1 Christmas fayre this year and took in £198 (stall fee £35, travel minimal as within a mile of my home). I didn't sell any of the Christmas cakes (which I'm kind of pleased with as I only made 3), but the gingerbread practically sold out.

        I think my worst fair was when I made just £5 after stall fee and travel costs were taken into consideration. I did return to that one the following Christmas (on advice from other stallholders) where my takings were good, and went back the following 2 years for the Christmas fair only. Last year they upped the stall fee by 50% (from £20 to £30) which wasn't so good for me. They didn't run a fair this year.
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        • #5
          We've always run our 'operation' as a profitable hobby which pays for a few luxuries including holidays to see our daughter living in exotic locations such as Thailand, Costa Rica and Mexico. We therefore go through all our events and have a minimum aim for gross turnover to be 6 times table or more. We also make comments about such things like the weather etc so the following year we can take a view whether to re-attend if the 6 x rule is not achieved. This has meant over the years we've moved away from specific craft fairs and small events and attend more of the middle of the road events where tables/spaces cost £30-50 per day. Must admit we don't do the really big events as it bugs us having to make so much stock just to cover the pitch.

          This approach has worked well for us over the years and we've found some real gem events in that time (1 consistently gives us 20-25 times table on a £20 pitch fee only 3 miles from home!). If we only just covered the table we'd have given up a long time is worth more to me than sitting round an empty field/hall/marquee not selling to unappreciative people!

          Having said all that we all know an event being successful doesn't mean to say that it will be the same next time and it's all a little bit of guesswork and faith at times!

          Twitter @PanacheGifts


          • #6
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